A Spatial Model of Potential Jaguar Habitat in Arizona

Hatten, James R.
Averill-Murray, Annalaura
van Pelt, William E.
The Wildlife Society
Publication Year: 
Abstract: The jaguar (Panthera onca) is an endangered species that occasionally visits the southwestern United States from Mexico. The number of jaguar sightings per decade has declined over the last 100 years in Arizona, USA, raising conservation concerns for the species at a local and national level. In 1997, state, federal, and local governments with land-management responsibilities agreed to characterize and identify potential jaguar habitat in Arizona and New Mexico. Specifically, the objectives of our analysis were 2-fold: (1) characterize potential jaguar habitat in Arizona from historic sighting records and (2) create a statewide habitat suitability map. We used a Geographic Information System (GIS) to characterize potential jaguar habitat by overlaying historic jaguar sightings (25) on landscape and habitat features believed important (e.g., vegetation biomes and series, elevation, terrain ruggedness, proximity to perennial or intermittent water sources, human density). The amount of Arizona (%) identified as potential jaguar habitat ranged from 21% to 30% depending on the input variables. Most jaguar sightings were in scrub grasslands between 1,220 and 1,829-m elevation in southeastern Arizona, in intermediately to extremely rugged terrain, and within 10 km of a water source. Conservation efforts should focus on protecting the most suitable jaguar habitat in southeastern Arizona (i.e., Santa Cruz, Pima, Cochise, Pinal, Graham counties), travel corridors within and outside Arizona, and jaguar habitat in the Sierra Madres of Sonora, Mexico.
Name of Journal: 
Journal of Wildlife Management
1024 - 1033
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Altar Valley Conservation Alliance

The Altar Valley Conservation Alliance is a collaborative conservation organization founded in 1995, and incorporated as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization.  Just southwest of Tucson, Arizona, the Altar Valley comprises approximately 610,000 acres of Sonoran desert grassland, some of the most biologically rich and ecologically threatened biotic communities in the world. Private ranches work side by side with federal, state and local agencies to manage the valley, which is the largest unfragmented watershed in Pima County, outside of the Tohono O’odham Nation to the west. This collection is an archive of reports and other documents specific to Alliance activities.